Summary: In Christ we discover God is not cranky and condemning but loving and redeeming.
THE MISUNDERSTOOD GOD: THE CONDEMNING GOD**
Big Idea: In Christ we discover God is not cranky and condemning but loving and redeeming.
Have you ever spoken terrible things to a dog in a kind voice? I must confess I have. I have pet Bogey (my Cocker Spaniel) and said things like, “O you stupid stupid dog. You are dumber than a box of rocks and absolutely useless.” All the while I am saying this Bogey is wagging his tail, licking my face, drawing close, and shaking with joy even though I am saying bad things to him. Have you ever spoken kind words to a dog in a harsh voice? It tucks its tail, cowers to the ground and stays at a distance because it senses it is being scolded.
I will come back to this; listen as I read 1 Corinthians 13:1-4 and verse 6 to you.
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
If we are not careful this couplet’s explanation of love can get a little “muddy.” Most of it has to do with our modern day understanding of the word evil. In the context of 1 Cor. 13, evil has a rather broad range of meaning. In that sense it is much like the word “shalom” which has a much broader meaning that merely peace. “Evil” has many nuances & expressions. Its meaning includes disharmony, malice, injustice, wrongdoing, and falsehood. Truth also has a large range of meaning. It would include that which is right/righteous, goodness, purity, and unity/union. When we understand evil and truth to imply these broad ranges of meaning we can begin to see how they contrast each other.
6 Love does not delight in disharmony but rejoices in unity.
6 Love does not delight in injustice but rejoices in righteousness.
6 Love does not delight in wrongdoing but rejoices in goodness.
6 Love does not delight in malice but rejoices in purity.
6 Love does not delight in falsehood but rejoices in the truth.
When it comes to loving relationships we can see how evil and truth become very relevant and too often, familiar. And, when we begin to allow love to take on meanings which are harmful, false, or unjust we are in danger of projecting those meanings to God’s character since “God is love.”
That is why we must understand that when it comes to love,
1. TRUTH BRINGS FREEDOM – NOT FEAR (1 JOHN 4:18)
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
“The playground bluff”
Have you ever seen someone at the park with their children and they are having such a good time that they don’t want to leave? But dad has been there quite a long time and there are other obligations so he begins to gather things up and prepare the kids for departure.
The car is loaded; everyone is in the car except … Junior … and he just won’t get off the swings. Junior just can’t bring himself to leave. Have you ever heard parents say things like: “Junior we are leaving, if you don’t get in the car we will leave you here. Good bye Junior!” Dad goes to the car, starts the engine, and Junior shrieks in horror while finally running to the car in fear mom and dad will leave him.
Now let’s be realistic. Dad would never have left five year old Junior. That was all a bluff – a lie. That was an act of desperation to try and keep Junior from making a scene.
But 6 Love does not delight in falsehood but rejoices in the truth.
Guess what. God never bluffs, manipulates or motivates out of fear – perfect love casts out fear; love replaces fear with a new motivation; blessed assurance (1 John 4:18).
The opposite of love is not hate in God’s economy; it is fear. The nature of “perfect love” (God) cannot include fear.
God never says things like: “If you don’t do what I want I am gonna abandon you!” What God says is, “Follow me because; I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” God says, “No one can snatch you out of my hand.” God say, “Draw close to me and I will draw close to you!”